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Week 18 = race preparations

RACE WEEK

Unfortunately, this week I ended up coming down with a small cold for a few days. Apparently it isn’t uncommon to get sick during the taper or right after the marathon because  running long distances can temporarily weaken the immune system  because “the body churns out the stress hormone cortisol, which suppresses immune function in large amounts.” I started feeling bad on Tuesday afternoon, but it was mainly just a small sore throat and a little headache near my temples on both sides, nothing to stop me from running. But I feel much better now, almost 100%, so no need to worry!

The last week of training is all about resting, relaxing, and mentally preparing for the marathon. It is key that I don’t try anything new – no new foods, drinks, or sports. As I read before, “Remember, during this final week, you can’t under-do. You can only overdo. Training for a marathon is not like studying for a test in school where you can get away with and even benefit from last minute cramming. With marathon training, it is best to err on the side of caution by resting up instead of trying to fit in any extra miles.

I like to be prepared for anything on race day and I want to minimize as much “freaking out” as I possibly can by planning for every possible weather combination. Come hell or high water, I will be prepared for this race. Therefore, I am packing a lot for Charlottesville. Here is what my marathon bag will contain (click the image for a larger view):

I’m leaving around lunch time today to drive to Charlottesville, as are my parents. Then it’s time for the expo and packet pick up and some last minute things before the final stretch. This will probably be the last time I post until after the big race, so stay tuned! I’d be so thankful if you wanted send some encouragement via Facebook or text, as long as it isn’t too late tonight since I’ll be going to bed early 🙂

(P.S. If you want to see my detailed race week run-down, click here, I looove making lists as you can tell.)

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Week 2

Week 2 of training is complete! Almost had a scare in the middle of the week with my IT band hurting (ITB syndrome) from doing the silly recumbent bike as some “active rest” / cross training on Monday night. It was so ironic that I’ve been running with NO injuries and NO flare-ups in my IT band, then I go use the bike while reading Grapes of Wrath, that I injure myself. I didn’t feel sore immediately, but the next day, I was sooo sore. Every time I stepped, the muscle outside of both of my knees would throb – I found that if I took shorter steps it wouldn’t hurt as much, but taking the stairs was even MORE painful (but if I did that FAST than it hurt less, so very strange the things you learn). Luckily for me, I realized I was in the very early stages of ITB syndrome, since it was just super tight but I was still able to run and the  pain wasn’t debilitating by any means.

Also luckily for me I got my foam roller right before this happened and I was able to Google how to roll it out. All the articles I read warned me that it would be painful, but OUCH, I’m glad I was able to do this in the privacy of my own home and I didn’t have to cry in public! BUT, after I did my foam rolling multiple times a day I felt so much better by Wednesday afternoon. PHEW! Crisis averted – I WORSHIP THE FOAM ROLLER.

How to "roll" your IT band

Those 3 miles on Tuesday were painful because I felt like I was dragging myself along – I felt like I mentally ran 12 miles. But then Wednesday felt SO much better – 5 miles and it felt so much shorter and faster. I’m just relieved that I was able to self-treat it, because I would’ve been so sad if it ended up getting worse and it wasn’t even caused by running!

The 9 mile long run on Saturday went well* – I was in Charlottesville again and decided against trying to do parts of the course that I wasn’t familiar with out of fear of the route not having sidewalks like last time. So I mapped it all out in areas that I used to run in when I was in undergrad there. It was pretty chilly and I hadn’t brought a long sleeve technical tee, so I wore my long sleeve pajama shirt on top of my short sleeve tech tee (but ended up taking it off during mile 2, while running by people wearing scarves and mittens). I ran it a little faster than planned (that’s better than running it slower than planned!), probably because it was chilly! Besides being absolutely ravenous afterwards, I was also super tired, and ended up having to take a nap afterwards.

Today, I got a new battery for my Polar HRM (only around $4!) since I got the ‘low battery’ sign after my long run (and I freaked out, thinking I’d lose all my information, but it was retained even after a new battery was put in, yes!) Now I’m getting ready to move into week 3, which is also holiday week! I like that my schedule lines up so that my long run is only 6 miles on Saturday (Christmas Eve day) since the long runs scale back every few weeks to let your muscles recover and build.

*A bad thing about running on a college campus on a Saturday morning: almost stepping in vomit around mile 8. Fear not, I was quick on my feet and able to dodge it. Nothing like adding some surprise obstacles to keep me alert.